Cold and Flu Antibiotics

woman and doctor
Answers from the expert about antibiotics.
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Q. When I blow my nose, the mucus is greenish; doesn't this mean I have an infection and need antibiotics?

A. Because the flu is a viral infection, it cannot be treated with antibiotics. Antibiotics only kill bacteria and thus are useless against the flu. Taking antibiotics when you don't need them contributes to antibiotic resistance -- an increasingly common and alarming trend in which disease-causing bacteria no longer respond to treatment.

A "green" runny nose is not necessarily an indication of a bacterial infection. Antibiotics only fight bacterial infections. However, you should check with your health care professional.


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